Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Value Of Amateur Baseball...Part 2
As we stated yesterday, the financial crisis has taken its toll on fans. The cost of many professional franchises are becoming prohibitive for a growing number of families. Yesterday, we suggested going to high school games. Today, we will talk about how incredibly exciting and affordable the college game is.
Most major metropolitan areas in the United States have at least one Division I college in their area and chances are they have a baseball team. Even if they have not been very good, we bet that they compete in a conference that has teams that are competitive and have a handful of players that will go on to play in the professional ranks in the future.
If recent drafts are any indication, college players are more coveted by Major League Clubs than in years past. College players are mentored by top notch coaches, have to endure the rigors of a 56 game schedule in just 12 weeks, practice, condition and strengthen their core every day of the school year and play in summer leagues with wood bats. That provides a great training ground for the Big Leagues.
It also gives the fans a glimpse into the future...much like college basketball and football does for their pro counterparts. Fans that want too see the next Tony Gwynn, Reggie Jackson, Pat Burrell and Evan Longoria can watch them for just over the price of a high school game. Students are free and many season tickets plans can be bought by adults for under $100.
The Leagues that will provide the best competition are the SEC, PAC 10, Big 12, Big West, ACC, West Coast Conference, Conference USA, WAC, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Big South, Southern, Big Ten, Sun Belt, Southland and Big East.
That's nearly 150 schools to follow in those conferences alone. When you add in all of the other conferences, Division II, D-III and JC's, there are thousands of college teams that provide great entertainment value. In our opinion, if a schools is within a 100 mile radius of your hometown, it is worth the trip to take your family to watch an entire weekend series for the cost of one MLB game.
But, if you are one of those bandwagon types, then here's a list of the top rated college teams as rated by RivalsCollegebaseball.com. There's some great clubs in this group and most are spread out in the areas that most of our readers are from. Many of these teams could be battling it out in Omaha in June.
Rivals.com Top 25
1. North Carolina
3. Texas A&M
4. Cal State Fullerton
7. UC Irvine
10. Florida State
13. Georgia Tech
14. Oklahoma State
15. San Diego
22. Arizona State
24. Oregon State